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Top RT tips for Africa

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL GUIDELINES FOR DRAGOMAN TRAVELLERS TO Africa

  • Before leaving home learn as much as possible about the countries you are visiting - the culture, religion, local rules and values.
  • Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple pleasantries will help break the ice. Keep practising.
  • Learn about appropriate behaviour, greetings and body language. Take the time to greet people with some formality before further engagement. The elderly are much respected in African culture and when introduced to a local family, addressing the eldest member first generates an excellent rapport!
  • Support locally owned businesses, hotels, restaurants and other services. Eat local food and drink local brands and brews. Use public transport, hire a bike or walk where convenient - you'll meet local people and get to know the place.
  • Respect the 'personal space' of the wildlife, this is their habitat. Speak quietly - do not call out, whistle or use other ways try and attract the attention of animals. Don't feed them or attempt to touch them for your safety and because habituating them to humans can shorten their life and cause harm for future visitors.
  • Shop from traditional artisans and for locally made products to help keep traditional crafts alive. Learn from your group leader as to which items are more sustainably sourced. Bargain if that is the local practice, but be fair.
  • Dress respectfully with an awareness of local standards. In many conservative communities across Africa, loose clothing covering the shoulders and thighs is the most suitable choice for both men and women. In most areas, swim wear is only suitable at pools and the beach.
  • Always ask first before photographing or videoing people. If you offer to send back copies, make sure you find out an address and keep your promise.
  • Be cautious of giving gifts or money to beggars, children and people you have just met. Supporting the community through your patronage of their services or by contributing to a legitimate charity, development project or school may be more constructive. Please don't give sweets to children - dental care is often limited.
  • Help protect Africa's fragile environment. In areas away from the cities, take out all you take in. Take your own bag when shopping and say 'No' to plastic bags. For cigarette butts, use a re-sealable container. Please use alternative sources of purified drinking water rather than buying bottled water wherever possible. Our trucks carry a supply of fresh purified drinking water. There are few recycling facilities in Africa. Deforestation is a huge problem across the continent. We aim to avoid unsustainable use of timber & charcoal where possible. A truck full of travellers causes a surprising amount of waste, please dispose of it responsibly and if in doubt, ask your tour leader.
  • After returning home think how you can support programmes and organisations that are working to protect the welfare, culture and environment of where you've been very fortunate to visit.
  • Be friendly - the traveller who wishes to have a happy and successful trip should keep as calm, cheerful and friendly as humanly possible. And have fun!

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